Monday, 23 July 2012

Feel of a Racquet

It was Saturday. I was delivered my final socket after endless days of sweat & hardwork. I was just too happy to hold myself at one place. As soon as I got on my new feet, I wanted to Run like crazy but Alas! it was not possible. My sister and I went for a walk and did a little shopping in Chembur after leaving my rehabilitation centre. Then I reached my building and I again started walking, getting used to the new socket. I kept walking for about 30 mins and then saw my brother coming on scooter. I asked him to give me a ride.

While on scooter, I was too thirsty  so I asked him to drive me to community center(Place where I had trained myself in Badminton). There I drank water and met my old friends(Vasant uncle and Ajit). I told them that one day I will play Badminton and they knew I will do that. 

But What happened next was out of the world. I went to my Badminton court to watch young enthusiast play. On seeing them, I also wanted to atleast touch the racquet. My brother knows that I am too difficult to convince when I have made up my mind. He knew what was going in my mind so he said "chal ramvu che?" "Do you want to play?" He also knew the answer. So he just asked the people standing, for two racquets. I took one. Touched it, smelled the guts and felt an utter sense of elation and joy. For a few seconds, I was in a trance phase an felt that this is how I can reach God. Then I took the shuttle cock and hit it hard. It was not bad as i had anticipated. I didn't cover the court but it was more than what I had in my mind about me and Badminton. My brother and I just practiced till my socket got loose and till it came off. 

While playing, My brother would ask me "Kevu lage che? Majja aave che?" " How are you feeling, Enjoying?" . And every time I would laugh like crazy and say 'Yes'. I felt as If I was drunk. I had no control over my emotions. I would keep laughing and hitting shots with power. I had a new dynamism and control altogether.

I sweated like a pig at the end but the sweat was meaningful and left its mark forever on me.
Now fully charged up, I went home. On my way I had another idea, it was ' I can Drive'.
I took my Scooter from my brother, asked him to ride on pillion and tried my hand at balancing. I realized that I COULD drive. But I also knew my limitations so rode my bike for a few minutes and handed it to my brother. But one thing gives you confidence to do other.
The feeling of holding the racquet and playing Badminton was a distant dream for me. I thought I would never be able to play as I used to. I also realised that I still have power to hit hard and make my opponents run. It was a pleasure to watch but more amusing was to play. Riding a bike with little drizzle on an empty road with wind caressing my hair gently was a feeling of Bliss and Comfort. Now I am looking forward to play Badminton, Train myself using my Prosthesis and be fit and healthy. Also Now I want to learn to drive a car. This is going to be a challenge. And Dear life, Challenge accepted.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

First few days in Office

I saw a mango tree in my office compound with various shades of Red, Orange, Yellow and Green on many Mangoes still on the tree. I thought - this place is full of people. most of them are young and still have a child within them. Then why were those mangoes never plucked or never faced stones from young kids? It is not that the tree is deep in the compound. You can see it right on the LBS Road. But still those unlucky mangoes  remained unplucked.

Such is the office life. Many mangoes remain unplucked, underutilized even it they are ripe and some mangoes are artificially ripened by chemical agents. Even if they are not tasty, they look in the best of its form (Doped) Why is it so? How can a ripe mango be utilized at the right moment? 

I dont know the answer.
May be when I will ripe then I will know. Till then, dear chemical agents, work on me.

I was welcomed with open arms to the office. I actually had fun filled first week when my TL told me to take rest and enjoy 1st two days and thus was not burdened immediately with work.  Then later I came to know that my mentor(one who would give me Knowledge on the process) was my friend. Moreover I realized that very few people knew about my accident so I was not earning any sympathies in the first place. The office was disabled friendly and my admin team had already informed to security about my case so I had smooth access to many places. I felt like I was in a Time Capsule where time moved at a speed greater than light.

My only concern was travel. Mumbai is a big city and connectivity in the city is one of the best in the country.  The trains, buses, rickshaws and taxis are main means. Still this facility is unserutilised by disabled and very less has been done to improve it. 

Few years ago, I had read in paper about disabled-friendly buses by BEST  where a ramp was lowered for wheelchair ridden people and time of arrival to major bus-stops  was messaged by depot to them on their cellphones. I was impressed by the initiative. But then again after few months, there was an article that those buses were scrapped as very few people used them and also the engine of the bus would fail thus endangering the lives of people inside. Thus one very good idea was put to rest.

A few months ago I read in paper that people using trains had complained to railways about annoying sound emitted by an acoustic device emitting sound for blind people with which they could locate compartment for handicapped without anybody's help.I was again impressed by what govt. was doing for disabled. There were two aspects, one where govt. is doing good and second where people are not cooperating. Even in bus there are seats reserved for handicapped, people dont get up.

Yes my major concern was travel and with the help of my HR team and Admin team I got bus facility extended. That was a relief to my parents. There at that moment I realised that people always help you in need. 

Currently all my concerns are put to rest by people around me and now I can concentrate on things like perfecting walking, running, getting into sports etc.

What do i want to become? I have asked this question to myself countless number of times and I get different answers everytime. I wish I could become all that I wish but every dream has one thing common. And that is 'gain Knowledge, be happy,teach and be curious'.And with context to a mango tree i mentioned at start- 
I want to ripe on a tree and be plucked by a farmer or by a traveller and eaten with happiness and be again planted so that many many people can benefit from it.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


The other day I had been to a local market and I met many people. Some I knew and some I didn't but ended up having conversation with many.  I also met my professor who had taught me English in my Junior College. We talked about many this like how much I miss my old college and how much fun I used to have, how much I  missed his shayaris and stories during his lectures, also about my little brother whom he teaches right now. He gave me inspiration and told stories about it. I was elated on meeting him and you have a great feeling when a teacher recognizes you in a crowd.

But one thing he told struck me. When he asked me about my accident, he said that it was my destiny and many good things will come out of this adversity. That was the time I was speechless. I had never thought that meeting an accident and losing my leg was my destiny. I thought that it was an accident.

Was I really destined to be an amputee? NO. I don't believe so. I think whatever happened was because of somebody's fault, be it anyone like BMC, Driver of that truck or me. It could have been averted. We could have stopped it if we had done our job proficiently.  I don't believe in destiny. We humans are smart beings. We know how to do our job, how to face a bad situation or how to come out of adversity. We are what we strive to be, what we really work and imagine to do. If there was any thing called destiny then we would have been like some animal wandering in wild,  like scavengers.

If  I start believing that this accident was planned and is my destiny then I would have never come out of it, I would still be at home doing nothing (well that is what I am doing now but I dont plan to do it in future).

There are people who think that marrying a loser was their destiny and they cant do anything. Or failing in some subject was written on their cards and how much ever effort they put, it would do them no better. Or whatever they are stuck with, be it in personal or professional life, was destined to happen.
I want to tell all of them that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS DESTINY. You can change your situation and NOW is the right time. There is nothing in life that is permanent not even life itself. Well change is the only thing that is permanent. You can change everything because only purpose of this life is being happy from inside even with troubles. These adversities will soon leave and the only thing that will remain with you is your nature(Be it positive or -ve) and attitude.

I think that if we all do our job with our heart, then all accidents can be averted. No Air crashes, rail derailment,    crashing of buildings or any such accidents. And to quote Mark Twain "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." YES WE CAN CHANGE

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The operation

When I was brought to the hospital, I was shifted to the ICU. Then they gave me some drug to stop the pain. I was asleep and they performed many tests on me during that. They took many blood samples, they performed my Doppler Test and may more that I dont even know about. After all the tests were performed and after Operation Theater was ready, they took me there. I was given Anesthesia and procedures started.

When they were taking me out of ICU, I could see a lot of people. My parents, my friends, my sister and her friends and even my father's friends. Some faces I could recognize and some I couldn't. (I thought 'Great, I have not lost my memory'). Then when they took me to other floor for operation, again I could see the same people. I thought my mind was playing games but later on I came to know that they had used stairs.

I was brought crushed and all my skin from thigh till ankle was gone. All blood vessels, muscles, bones etc. was crushed and mangled. The Doctors knew that I will have to be amputated to save my life but as I was young and a girl(that is how they told), they wanted to take their chances. They first removed the pea-sized clot(which was later shown to my parents) from my artery. They performed many emergency procedures like Embolectomy, recanalisation, etc.  They fixed my femur, Tibia , Fibula and patella (which was crushed). They fixed an external rod by drilling into my bones. They gave me a central line on my neck.  Performed debridement i.e. removed dead skin and then stabalized my knee.

This operation was unsuccessful and still even after removing clot, blood was not flowing in my leg. Thus, they required another operation. They took an hour break to plan it. That day the doctors did not have their dinner. My life was saved now their priority was to save my leg.

During one of the procedure I had woken up and I started asking for water. I was thirsty and I pleaded  for water.  The nurse told me that I was under Anesthesia and drinking water would make me vomit on the operation table. I told I would control my vomit and I wouldn't  let the table soiled. Then a nurse told me to open my mouth, I opened as wide as I could.  My plan was to drink as much water in one go as I could. She gave me two drops. Can you believe just two drops? That much quantity just made my lips wet and was absorbed by my tongue. Nothing went ahead in my throat. I asked for more. NO was their answer. 

They started my another operation after thorough planning. They again did Embolectomy, Exploration of  popliteal artery  and placed two grafts. One above knee and one below knee. This operation was a success as they could see blood flowing below knee during the operation. So then they stopped further procedures and waited that blood would flow normally.

Doctors told my parents that I had lost a lot of blood and that I was shivering during last hour as my body was exhausted.  I had my leg fixed and they transferred me to ICU. There I would wake up and see the miracle. see that my leg was still there with me.

That day nobody had slept except for me. not  my parents, not my friends not my doctors. They all were praying for me, for miracle to happen. My operation started at around 5pm and ended at around 6am with one break in between for one hour to plan. I lay unconscious the whole time and had one great sleep.

That day a team of Orthopedic docs, team of cardiologist, a team of neurosurgeons and a team of Plastic surgeons along with an anesthesiologist were working in unison to mend my broken leg. They did their job in the best possible way. They must have gone home and taken a day off later thinking that they had performed a complicated operation. 

In the morning when I got up, I saw my leg till toe. I was very happy and thanked all the doctors. I would smile at everyone who would visit me and talk as if I was the healthiest in the room. My life was saved and even after an accident, I had my leg attached. I thought, I would take some time but would be on my legs soon.

Friday, 16 March 2012

The Operation(My side of the story)

When I was brought in the hospital,  I was shifted to the ICU. I don't remember what happened after that. I guess I had fallen asleep. When I was in my senses, I opened my eyes, I was in the Operation Theater and a doctor told that he was giving me anesthesia and I should not control myself. I must fall asleep as soon as he gives me the drug. I remember saying something to him but I don't remember what I told him.

When I opened my eyes, I was still in a room. I could see the huge room with white walls, glassed shelves which holds all the instruments and a stream of light falling directly into my eyes. I could see three flat screens of around 21 inches joined adjacent to each other like the three mirrors of an antique dressing table and mounted on a pipe and someone was staring at random images in it. He was masked and his head was covered. He wore a blue robe and then I realized that I was still in the Operation Theater. When I lifted my hand, I could see lumps of blood dripping from a wound. I got scared and kept my hand on operation table as it was before. I had no idea why there was blood there. Because previously, I had no wound on my hand, just broken bones.

I was utterly confused. Nobody had noticed that I was conscious. So I said 'Doctor' in a faint voice. Someone heard it and came near my  face. He introduced himself to me and so did some others. I dont remember any of their names. The doctor sitting and staring the screen was least interested in knowing what was going on at the table. He just kept staring and changing the views. 

I asked the people around me that what was going. They told me there was nothing to worry, I was getting well. They informed me that my Angioplasty was taking place. Suddenly I felt something very hot flowing in both my lower limbs. It was very hot and it felt like a snake crawling inside me. I asked them about it and they told me that it was a normal procedure which removes blockages in blood vessels. The looked at each other and then explained me the whole procedure. (Why were they explaining me the procedure  to me, I knew it. I wanted to know why were they doing it on me?)

They told me that there was blockage in my arteries that supplies blood below the knee. That they had removed the clot but still my arteries had contracted thus not allowing normal blood flow in my leg. They convinced me that it was a normal procedure and would be finished in minutes. 

But the doctor who stared at the screen had not spoken to me. He was a very serious man. Then I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. Then again that hot liquid started flowing inside me. I could feel it in my right leg till my toe but i could not feel anything below my thigh in my left leg. I told the masked people around me that. Then they asked me about my accident to divert my attention and I told them the whole story in a very cute voice. I felt that I had the cutest and the sweetest voice.(That was still the anesthesia speaking). 

I felt that people are so nice inside Operation Theater. I just saw their eyes, but I knew that they were the most beautiful people there. They heard my stories like children. And then later on two of them found me and came to meet me when I was in the General ward. They told me that I was one of the bravest girl they had seen in their life in Operation Theater. I feel very nice when someone says that to me. 

Saturday, 3 March 2012

My encounter with 'The System'

I never bothered about  the administration or how the things around me work. I was happy in my own life with my own boundaries and my own thinking. I went to School, college and even work without thinking about how the things really work. Until one day this accident strike me.

I lost my limb because of no proper administration and no proper management of trauma victim.
  1. I have never ever broken a signal.  I am a law abiding citizen . Well to tell you the truth, my scooter is new and I don't want any kind of trouble for my newbie . That day  at the busy junction near R-Center signals were not working. I wanted to take a turn and out of nowhere, a truck came and it hit me. BANG and I was on the road.
  2. the traffic police noticed me on road from the chowkie below the flyover and instead of coming to my rescue, went inside. he came after 15 minutes and by that time many people had come to my rescue. I wanted that traffic police to do something like catch that truck driver (I still dont know if the man escaped or was put behind the bars). 
  3. I was taken to hospital in a dirty stretcher in police van (I was more concerned about catching infections from it rather then the from surroundings in the van). In police van my father , two constables and Swarnima (A girl who helped me throughout) kept silent.  I was  lying on floor with my injuries covered by my red bandhani dupatta .  
  4. I was taken to the nearest hospital which was never prepared for a situation like this. The head doctor saw me and was perplexed to see me in such condition. some interns gave me first aid and kept me busy talking so i wouldn't lose my consciousness . some doctors were kind, some didn't know what to do and some were to afraid to even touch me. one intern  made a video of me shouting and crying in pain when they were washing my injured leg. (he had Kolavari Di ringtone which annoyed me every time it rang). In this hospital, i was administered first-aid and after one hour of drama, I was told that "We do not have proper equipment and a qualified surgeon to operate you" .
  5. They wanted to transfer me to a hospital in Vashi, Navi Mumbai. I wanted an ambulance and the Hospital had a shortage. Hence, a state of art ambulance meant for trauma victim was called for me. Well that was what I was told. I waited for around one hour in that causality bed waiting for  those four wheels. But to my disappointment, the ambulance that came was a Maruti-Van which lacked even a hanger for my intravenous drip. I wanted to shout at them, i had lost around three - three and a half  hours in that hospital.
  6. Atlast somehow I reached New-Bombay hospital and doctors again saw my wound, asked about it and then i was booked a bed in ICU. The doctor who had my video, showed it to all the doctors present and i could hear my own voice. I felt that one more girl is shouting in a voice like mine. (you do not like ur own voice in a video).
  7. due to procedures and protocol of a hospital , my operation started at around 4:30pm. I had lost a lot of blood and TIME and was critical on  admission. Doctors and nurses were kind to me but at that time i wanted something else, that was - the TIME I had lost and thus a LIMB.
The system is still not efficient and lives are lost daily because of non-availability of basic infrastructures. I dont expect air-lift but atleast availability of information to everyone about nearest hospitals which cater to emergency cases. 

Whatever happened after that was out of the world. I  witnessed kindness from the people who came to my rescue on a busy Friday morning. I remember their faces and I thank them daily in my prayers. Well i never experienced carelessness from anyone but i witnessed lack of training to handle issues like this. 

When I was sitting on the road , my whole life was flashing in front of my eyes. I remembered each and every person who was a part of my life; people who helped me, people whom I helped . And I had just two things : Faith and Hope : that everything is going to be alright : That i am loved .

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Why Blogging

The other day I had been to Bandra with my friend to eat out on Valentines' day. There I was celebrating Life and every moment that I was given on this planet.

While coming home I was stuck at traffic and  I saw a man just like me on crutches. He was waiting on the other side of the road. Cars went zooming pass him and he went totally unnoticed. I thought 'this man needs to cross, stop your cars and let him go, he might be tired.'.  I thought ' how is this society treating poor disabled ?' . He wanted to cross the road , well that is what I thought.

But as signal turned red and all vehicles stopped, he started walking. I couldnt see him , my vision was blocked by a truck. When I could see, I could'nt find him on that side of road. I thought he was fast. But one more glance on the road and I saw him BEGGING at the signal. He was waiting for signal to turn red and so he could earn something by begging. May be he earned Rs 100 a day.

I was disgusted at him. Why should he beg?
Well, meanwhile traffic on my side was moving and I just forgot all those when my friend started talking.
Another signal and another beggar. She was around 12-15 yrs old and she was also on crutches. I didn't like her. Her legs were fully functional and was not even limping .She was walking on her own legs but held those crutches for just namesake. May be she wanted sympathy(money).

This made me think, Does being one like me really earns you any sympathy?
The answer is NO...

After being discharged from hospital, I went to a mall for shopping. That was around after 10 days from being discharged. I was still not ready to be looked upon as an amputee. But I gathered some courage and went with my family. The mall was big and lifts were less, and people were lazy to climb stairs. I got a wheelchair and started my fun : Shopping. (I love to shop).
I was happy that I was doing something I like after a long long time. But I also could see people looking at me, staring at my missing leg and then again looking at me. I didn't like them ..I hated them at that time. One girl stopped my dad and asked about me and my accident. Others just kept staring.. C'mon, I am Ordinary just like you all. At this moment, I was earning sympathy. Poor me.

But the scenario was completely different when I was waiting for the lift to move from 1st floor to 2nd floor. My wheelchair almost occupied place for two people in the elevator. People now a days have no time. They just want to move and move really fast. So there I was waiting for lift.  And people really didnt care for a girl on a wheelchair. They just wanted to go in the lift and didn't  bother if  I go first or not. Where is the courtesy people? Where are the manners? Indians are considered to be gentle and full of emotions compared to the rest of the world.

Well I ignored all of them and enjoyed my treat. That was the first time I had chole bhature, donuts and Chinese stuff (It was banned for me in the hospital). for me it was happiness packed on a plate.
After that mall incident I could gather courage to go out and eat in public without been looked upon or stared.

I just wanted to raise a few questions like

  • Is this how a disabled needs to earn his living? (begging)
  • Do people really care about the disabled?
  • Do we really have no time, even a minute?

All these questions made me write about my experiences about my amputation and life after that.

I will write about how I am coping up with my new found ability. How am I treated at work, within friends , outside(like in bus, trains, etc..).
Thanks for your few minutes (in a virtual world atleast).